I'm currently working on a large lace stole with two borders. The first is worked in the round from stitches picked up around the outside of a centre panel, and then the second will be knitted on. I'm 8 rounds into that first one and, oh boy, is it heavy going?! It's not a complicated stitch pattern. It's just that each round is over 700 stitches around and taking ages!
Long rounds+lace weight yarn=slow-going+wondering if I'm ever going to finish.
Each round is currently taking a good half-hour, so even if I sit down for an evening of uninterrupted knitting I'm not getting very far very fast and I need some ways to keep myself going.
Here are some ideas both instant and longer term:
1. Time trial - how fast can I knit one round? Set the clock and see how fast I can go.
2. Time trial 2 - can I beat my fastest time? Set a countdown timer and try to finish the round before it runs out.
3. See some progress - put a locking stitch marker (the kind you can remove, or, at a push, a safety pin or a piece of waste yarn tied on will do) to mark my place on Monday morning and leave it there. Watch how much further I work as the week goes on. It's easier to see how much progress you're making with a marker than trying to remember where you were up to a week ago.
4. Reward yourself - treat yourself with something small every time you reach a goal. Just be sensible about with what and how often. A sweet after every row sounds lovely, until you work out that the sweater has enough rows that if you do that, by the time you finish, you'll have outgrown it!
5. Declare a goal publicly - I belong to a Ravelry group called Resolutions Monthly. The group is a place where members can post their personal goals and challenges, and others can cheer them on (or commiserate if they don't quite make it). Nothing like making a public declaration of intending to finish a project to hold you accountable.
6. Bite-size chunks - there's an old saying that asks "how do you eat an elephant?" and the answer is "one bite at a time". The same can apply to large knitting projects. I'm not going to get the entire border finished in one evening, but I can aim to finish 6 rounds today, the remainder of the first border by the end of Wednesday, and then 10 triangles on the knitted-on border each day until it's done.
7. Set a specific reason to finish it - and declare that too! For example, "I'm going to wear this shawl at Emma's wedding", "I'm going to wear this sweater for dinner out with friends at the end of next month", "This is going to be Aunt Sally's birthday present this May", "I'm going to use this tablecloth on the Christmas table this year".
8. Take a break for light-relief projects - this can be a tricky one. Some people find if they take a break from a large project to make a smaller one (a hat, a pair of mitts, a baby sweater) they can come back to the larger one refreshed. For others, once they've given themselves permission to stop and make something else, that large project will languish in a bag in the wardrobe for months while that just-one-hat becomes a hat, and a matching scarf and mittens, and a soft toy for the baby next door, and a test knit of something for a designer they follow on Ravelry, and a pair of socks they like the look of in a magazine...... I think you get the idea.
It's a case of knowing why you are making the project, when you want/need to finish it, and your personal knitting style. In this case, I have declared the desire to finish it by the end of February (looking increasingly unlikely but if I don't try I won't make it), wanting to get the project off the needles in time to start a new specific one for a knit-along that begins in a few weeks' time, and being a largely monogamous knitter who doesn't tend to store works-in-progress long-term.